Women represent only 20 to 22 per cent of the international space industry, which is on par with the percentage from 30 years ago, according to the UN.
The UN that has chosen “Women in Space” as the theme for this year’s World Space Week, has said that only 11 per cent women travelled to space and only 15 of teh total 225 spacewalks was by women.
The goal of this year’s World Space Week celebration is to bring more awareness to the issue of gender diversity and identify the obstacles that women are facing when entering space-related careers and contribute to discussions on ending disparities. The UN also wants to show how women from different backgrounds and regions, face different issues and challenges within the industry.
The UN says that gender inequality was a long-standing and widespread issue in education and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, both in developed and developing countries. It said that women are still visibly underrepresented as researchers in STEM fields in all regions, averaging just 28.8 percent, globally. To address some these issues, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) had launched Space4Women, to promote woman empowerment.
Noting that ‘equality is the pre-condition for a better future’, UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo said; “space for women means strengthened awareness, capacity, and skills, empowering young women and girls globally and promoting gender equality.”
The UN said that over 560 people have travelled to space, but less than 70 of them are women. Woman CEOs also represent 19 per cent of the leaders in aerospace and defence, even though space tends to offer high earning jobs in a fast growing sector, providing women with more financial freedom and empowerment.
- Around 49 percent of the world’s working age woman are in the labour force, compared to over 75 percent of working age men.
- Woman represent 35 per cent of all students enrolled in STEM-related higher education
- Woman earn 23 per cent less than men
- Woman CEOs represent 19 per cent of the leaders in aerospace and defense